HAMPTON, GEORGIA (October 26, 2003) - Jason Leffler and the Haas CNC Racing team finished 22nd in the Aaron's 312 at Atlanta Motor Speedway Saturday. A late-race flat tire deflated the teams' hopes for a top-15 finish in the event. 50 NASCAR...
HAMPTON, GEORGIA (October 26, 2003) - Jason Leffler and the Haas CNC Racing team finished 22nd in the Aaron's 312 at Atlanta Motor Speedway Saturday. A late-race flat tire deflated the teams' hopes for a top-15 finish in the event.
50 NASCAR Busch Series competitors vied for 43 starting spots Friday afternoon during qualifying for the event. Leffler posted a speed of 190.247 miles per hour around the 1.54-mile speedway during his two-lap qualifying run, which earned him seventh-place on the starting grid, the best qualifying effort for the No. 00 Haas Automation Chevrolet this season.
Almost immediately after the drop of the green flag Saturday afternoon, Leffler radioed to the crew that the car would need major adjustments to the handling. During a caution period that began on Lap 47, Leffler drove onto pit road to the attention of the team. Unfortunately, amongst the confusion of pit road, Leffler missed his pit stall and was forced to make another lap around the track. Seeing an opportunity to lead a lap, Leffler stayed out on the track for one additional circuit and led Lap 49 before making another trip down pit road. The Haas Automation crew went to work to change all four tires, fill the car with fuel and make several adjustments to the handling, including a wedge adjustment and removing the spring rubber from the left rear. Leffler returned to the track in 23rd and took the restart at the tail end of the lead lap line. Leffler patiently worked his way through traffic in the mid-stages of the race, despite a tight handling racecar. He had made his way into the Top-15 before radioing the crew on Lap 160 of the 203-lap event that he had a flat tire. Leffler lost two laps during the ensuing unscheduled pit stop on Lap 160, and finished the event in 22nd place.
"Today we learned that we've got some work to do," commented Leffler. "The Haas Automation Chevrolet was good in qualifying, but for some reason during the race it didn't handle the way we needed it to. We're disappointed, but the whole reason we're running these races together this year is so that we can have days like this now instead of when we're running for the championship next season. The good news is that I know we'll go back to the shop and work until we figure out how we can make things better. Obviously there isn't anything you can do about a flat tire, but the things we can fix, we'll fix, no doubt about it." Leffler will once again be behind the wheel of the Haas Automation Chevrolet for the running of the Bashas' Supermarkets 200 at Phoenix International Raceway next weekend. Qualifying for the event will take place Thursday, October 30, with the drop of the green flag scheduled for 3 p.m. (EST) Saturday. The event will be telecast live on TNT and will be broadcast worldwide by MRN.